Broadway Recognizes Georgia’s Favorite Dueling Immigrant

In 1776, three Georgians – Lyman Hall, George Walton, and Button Gwinnett – signed the Declaration of independence. Each lives on, most notably through the counties that bear their surnames. When you visit the Georgia State Capitol, you can see the marble bust of each one in the rotunda.

What do we know about Button Gwinnett? It’s been written that Gwinnett is great, success lives there, and in at least one Gwinnett city, everyone is somebody. However, unlike his co-signers from the thirteenth colony, Gwinnett wasn’t even born here – he was an immigrant – and he died in a duel with Lachlan McIntosh in May of 1777 following a disagreement over securing Georgia’s southern border. Gwinnett wanted to invade Florida; McIntosh disagreed and asserted that Gwinnett’s scheme was politically motivated. (Maybe it would have been easier to just build a fence?)

Revolutionary-era immigrants who died in a duel with a political rival are kind of a thing right now – perhaps I’ve mentioned it? – so it only stands to reason that our man Bilbo Giblin Button Gwinnett is ready for his turn in the spotlight. It took a South Carolinian and a New Yorker (and a beat-boxing New Orleanian) to get the job done, and for that, we raise a glass to Stephen Colbert and Lin-Manuel Miranda for their one-song musical. Ladies, prepare to defend thine Button-holes:


  1. saltycracker says:

    Those were the days that politicians on the frontiers of America settled name calling the manly way. It is time to bring back that honored tradition and hold monthly duels in the new dome with all proceeds and a portion of betting revenues going to _________]_.

  2. Ellynn says:

    It should be noted that George Washington had to move Gen McIntosh out of the southern command to Valley Forge to prevent the General from being charged with murder, leading to the take over of Savannah and Charleston by the British. When he came back to save the southern border in 1780 he was captured. If Lachlan hadn’t been a hothead, we could be singing a musical about him too…

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